Wild Thing (The Troggs song)
Cover of the 1966 German single
|Single by The Troggs|
|from the album
From Nowhere – The Troggs
|B-side||"From Home" (UK)
"From Home" (US Fontana)
"With A Girl Like You" (US Atco)
"Lost Girl" (FRG)
|The Troggs singles chronology|
"Wild Thing" is a song written by Chip Taylor. Originally recorded by American band The Wild Ones in 1965, "Wild Thing" is best known for its 1966 cover by the English band The Troggs, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1966. The song peaked at No. 2 in Britain.
The song is in the key of A major, and is based around the chord progression (I - IV - V - IV), which is the basis for the main riff. Also the instrumental parts during the chorus are in key with the rest of the song. However, the guitars are not strictly tuned to middle C in the Troggs' version and the slightly sharp tuning causes the chords to actually be midway between A and Bb. This has mystified many guitar players trying to play along with the record. It has been suggested that The Troggs did this as a joke. As a side note, the middle eight was originally someone whistling, but in The Troggs' version this was replaced by Colin Fretcher, musical director, playing an ocarina.
The Wild Ones
The Wild Ones were the house band at the New York City nightclub Arthur, set up by socialite Sybil Christopher, who had married the band's former lead singer Jordan Christopher. Although they had issued an album, it was not as successful as the band had hoped, and their producer Gerry Granahan contacted Chip Taylor to ask him to write a song for them to release as a single. Taylor said:
I started just chuggin’ away on a couple of chords and within a couple of minutes of getting off the phone I had the chorus and I was kind of likin’ it. I didn’t really know what I was going to say in between but I was thinking there was something cool and sweaty about this. So I went to the studio... Because it was a sexual-kind-of-feeling song, I didn’t want to be embarrassed, I wanted to let myself sing it, so I asked [producer] Ron [Johnson] to turn the lights out when I got there and have my stool ready and have my microphone ready and when I got there, I said, “Put the tape in record and just let it go and let me just keep playin.... And then I stomped on a board, just to give a cool little edge to it and I banged on a tambourine and then Ron was foolin’ around. As the track was playing back, he was doing this little thing with his hands, like when you put a blade of grass in there and you get a whistling sound? Only he was able to it without the blade of grass in it. It sounded cool.... I listened back and I thought it sounded great. I was a little afraid to play it for people because it was so different than anything I’d done before; it wasn’t one of those pretty little country songs. And it was very sexy.
Granahan approved the song and produced the Wild Ones' recording, with vocals by Chuck Alden. However, on its release in November 1965 the record failed to sell, and Alden later said that he regretted not performing the song in the same way as Taylor's demo.
The Troggs version
Because of a distribution dispute, The Troggs' single was available on two competing labels: Atco and Fontana. Because both pressings were taken from the identical master recording, Billboard combined the sales for both releases, making it the only single to simultaneously reach No. 1 for two companies.
On the Atco label, "Wild Thing" is credited to Reg Presley (Troggs' lead vocalist) and "With a Girl Like You" (its flip side) to Chip Taylor. The author credits are reversed. On the Fontana label, "Wild Thing" is credited to Chip Taylor and the flip contains a different song, "From Home", credited to Reg Presley. The Fontana label credits production to Page One Productions, England, while the Atco label credits production as "A Larry Page Production, Recorded in England". They also did a version with Canned Heat.
Amanda Lear version
|Single by Amanda Lear|
|from the album Secret Passion|
|Genre||Pop rock, synthpop|
|Producer(s)||Christian De Walden|
|Amanda Lear singles chronology|
French singer Amanda Lear recorded "Wild Thing" for her comeback album Secret Passion and added a synthpop feel to it. The single was produced by Christian De Walden and released in 1987. On the B-side another Secret Passion track was released, "Aphrodisiac", whose French language version [Aphrodisiaque" later became a separate A-side single. 12" single included a remixed version of "I'm a Mistery" and a 1987 re-recording of "Follow Me". "Wild Thing" was performed in a number of TV shows, but failed to chart.
The "Wild Thing" music video was shot in Parisian Hôtel Meurice, in the most luxurious suite, which had been Salvador Dalí's favourite. French actor and singer Jean-Luc Lahaye appears in the clip, sitting in bed in a bathrobe and reading Amanda's 1987 novel L'Immortelle. Amanda takes her bathrobe off, revealing a scant sexy outfit, and dances around the room. Two female dancers appear in the video, dressed as maids, performing minimalistic dance routines.
- A. "Wild Thing" - 3:26
- B. "Aphrodisiac" - 3:44
- French 12" Single (1987)
- A. "Wild Thing" (Extended Version) - 5:11
- B1. "I'm a Mistery" (Remix) - 5:16
- B2. "Aphrodisiac" - 3:44
- Canadian 12" Single (1987)
- A. "Wild Thing" (Remix) - 5:11
- B. "Follow Me" - 7:20
|Single by Divinyls|
|from the album Reckless Kelly|
|Divinyls singles chronology|
"Wild Thing" has remained popular ever since The Troggs' hit single and has been covered many times:
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience gave a dramatic performance of the song, at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. The performance was captured in the 1967 documentary Monterey Pop. Hendrix recorded the song live, as heard on the compilation album The Ultimate Experience. Hendrix lit his guitar on fire at the song's finish.
- The Kingsmen included a version on their 1966 album Up And Away.
- In 1967, the novelty team of Senator Bobby released a version of "Wild Thing". Sung by comedian Bill Minkin in the verbal style of Democratic Senator Bobby Kennedy while a recording engineer is heard giving instructions, the stammering single charted at #20 in the United States. The flip side of the Senator Bobby 45 featured "Senator Everett McKinley" (an impression of Republican Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen) doing the same song; the initial voiceover by the recording engineer encourages Senator Bobby to respond to his "hit single" (the Senator Everett McKinley version also had some radio airplay at the time). The songs were credited to The Hardly-Worthit Players, and the Senator Bobby version was included as a bonus track on reissues of their 1966 Parkway LP called The Hardly-Worthit Report (the rest of the album is a comedic takeoff on the NBC national news broadcast The Huntley-Brinkley Report).
- In 1967, The Canadian noise band Nihilist Spasm Band referred to it in the lyrics of their piece "The Sweetest Country This Side of Heaven" (released on a flexi disc in ArtsCanada magazine's August–September 1967 issue, and re-released as a version of "No Canada" on the CD reissue of the ¬x~x=x album): "Canada! I think I love you/but I wanna know for sure/Canada! Hold me tight/You move me."
- The British group Fancy recorded a version of the song in 1974, which reached No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- The British comedy troupe The Goodies recorded a version of the song in 1975, including it on the album The New Goodies LP and performing it in "The Goodies Rule – O.K.?" and "The Goodies – Almost Live".
- The Muppet character Animal performed this song on the Teresa Brewer episode of The Muppet Show (aired November 19, 1977). The song would later be recorded by Animal, Floyd Pepper, and Kermit the Frog for the 1994 album Kermit Unpigged.
- In 1981 the British duo The Creatures recorded a cover version on their EP Wild Things with additional new lyrics; "Wild thing, I think I hate you/but I wanna know for sure/so come on, hit me hard/I hate you".
- In 1983 the song was covered by the psychobilly band The Meteors for their Wreckin' Crew album.
- Australian pub band Cold Chisel covered the song during their Last Stand concert.
- Sister Carol performed a reggae song in 1986 with a chorus that incorporated the words "Wild Thing" and contained musical elements from The Troggs' version. The lyrics and music are otherwise unrelated.
- Guitarist Jeff Beck covered the song in 1985, which was released as a promo single.
- The Runaways performed a version of the song on their album Live in Japan. Drummer Sandy West sang lead on the track.
- Indie band Unrest recorded a version of the song for their 1987 album Tink of S.E..
- Comedian Sam Kinison recorded a hit novelty version in 1988, with a music video featuring cameos from many well-known rock musicians including Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from Aerosmith, Slash and Steven Adler of Guns N' Roses, Billy Idol, C.C. DeVille of Poison (American band), Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, Stephen Pearcy, Warren DeMartini and Robbin Crosby from Ratt, and Tommy Lee. The video also featured a raunchy "roll on the mat" dance with Jessica Hahn. Kinison's version changed the song to a misogynistic rant against the title subject, with lines such as "Why didn't you tell me you were a demon from Hell" and "The only thing that gets you off is to see me in pain."
- A cover by the Los Angeles-based punk band X was used in the 1989 film Major League and its 1994 sequel, Major League II.
- The 1991 animated series of the comic book character Swamp Thing had a theme song that parodied "Wild Thing," with the lyrics "Swamp Thing! You are amazing!"
- Cheap Trick recorded the song for the soundtrack to Encino Man in 1992, possibly as a tribute to Kinison who had died that year.
- The Troggs recorded a new version in 1993, which charted in the lower reaches of the British charts.
- Australian rock duo Divinyls covered the song in 1993 for the soundtrack to the film Reckless Kelly. It peaked at No. 39 on the Australian Singles Chart.
- Hank Williams, Jr. recorded a cover version in 1995 for his album Hog Wild.
- The German group Mr. Ed Jumps the Gun recorded a version of the song in 1995 with the title Wild Thang.
- Canadian music duo Prozzak, on their 1998 album Hot Show, performed a medley of this and "Poor Boy".
- Westlife performed the song on their Where the Dreams Come True Tour (2001).
- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed the song on numerous occasions during their Working on a Dream Tour (2009).
- Prince interpolated the chorus of the song into his cover of Tommy James and the Shondells' "Crimson and Clover", for the album Lotusflower (2009).
- Liz Phair covered this song on her 2010 album Funstyle.
- American heavy metal band Chimaira did a cover of the song in 2011, and released it on their official YouTube channel.
- La Muerte covered the song on their 1984 EP "The Surrealist Mystery". Playing this 33rpm version at 45rpm can make one believe the Zuni doll from the Karen Black television segment in Trilogy Of Terror is singing the song.
Use in popular culture
- In the UK the song was used heavily by television programme "You've Been Framed", for clips generally involving animals.
- The song was featured in a prominent scene in the 1997 miniseries Painted Lady featuring Helen Mirren.
- In 1992, the Troggs' version was used in the film D2: The Mighty Ducks.
- The 1989 baseball film Major League used "Wild Thing" recorded by L.A. punk band X as the theme song for Rick Vaughn, the team's erratic starting/relief pitcher. Life soon imitated art, when the Philadelphia Phillies closer Mitch Williams adopted the song for his entrances from the bullpen, including in the 1993 World Series. During the late 2000s, the song was played at Fenway Park when Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon would come in from the bullpen, followed by "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphy's.
- Japanese Pro Wrestler Atsushi Onita used the X version of the song as his entrance theme.
- A version by Cheap Trick was used for the film Encino Man.
- In 2003, Aerosmith recorded a version of the song with a video, which was used for commercials and teasers advertising ABC's coverage of the NFL Wild Card playoffs.
- In 1998, the song was used in The Vicar of Dibley episode "Love and Marriage" - the choir at St. Barnabus' Church sang the song after Hugo and Alice made their vows and were pronounced man and wife.
- In the Full House episode, "Just Say No Way," Jesse Katsopalis plays this song with the marching band at DJ's school dance (replacing Dogface, a popular high school band, who broke up hours beforehand).
- The title of the 1986 film Something Wild was itself an inversion of the song title. The film features a scene where two main characters (played by Jeff Daniels and Melanie Griffith) pick up some hitch-hikers in their convertible and the party then sing "Wild Thing".
- The song was also sung in the TV show Saved by the Bell.
- The book "A Punk Rock Love Song" uses Wild Thing as a rock band's audition song, with a character describing it as, "a dumb song, I know, but it's easy. If people can't play that, then hell with 'em." 
"Hanky Panky" by Tommy James And The Shondells
|Billboard Hot 100 number one single
"Wild Thing" by The Troggs
July 30, 1966
"Summer in the City" by The Lovin' Spoonful
- Talevski, Nick (8 May 2006). Rock Obituaries - Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. p. 342. ISBN 978-1846090912.
- Peter Doggett (27 August 2015). Electric Shock: From the Gramophone to the iPhone – 125 Years of Pop Music. Random House. p. 421. ISBN 978-1-4481-3031-3.
- Dylan Jones (14 August 2014). Elvis Has Left the Building: The Day the King Died. The Overlook Press. p. 68. ISBN 978-1-4683-1042-9.
- The release was United Artists 947. See history at Second Hand Songs.
- Frank Mastropolo, ""Wild Thing” – The First Punk Rock Song?", Pop(ular) Culture Elective, November 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2015
- Justin Tricarico, "The Wild Ones without Jordan". Retrieved 30 October 2015
- Billboard Magazine. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. July 6, 1966. ISSN 0006-2510.
- Mojo Magazine #173 (April 2008), pg. 39
- "The Hotel Meurice". daliplanet.blogsome.com. Retrieved 2011-05-06.
- "WILD THING 1987 France". amandalear_singoli.tripod.com. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
- "Wild Thing / Aphrodisiac by Amanda Lear : Reviews and Ratings". rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 2011-05-06.
- "Wild Thing / I'm A Mistery / Aphrodisiac by Amanda Lear : Reviews and Ratings". rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 2011-05-06.
- "Amanda Lear - Wild Thing / Follow Me (Vinyl) at Discogs". www.discogs.com. Retrieved 2011-05-06.
- Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 53 - String Man. : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu.
- "Show 47 - Sergeant Pepper at the Summit: The very best of a very good year. [Part 3] : UNT Digital Library". Digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- Sprague, David (2007). "Unrest". Trouser Press. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
- Steffen Hung. "Divinyls - Wild Thing". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- "Winning Is Fun (Wild Thing Cover)". YouTube. 2013-08-08. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- Original United Artists press release for "Wild Thing" by the Wild Ones
- The Screamin Sam Show Tribute to Sam Kinison
- Cover history at Second Hand Songs
- Tablature and chords
- Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics